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New Study to Investigate Whether Ibuprofen Can Reverse the Effects of Emphysema

An estimated 12 million adults have been diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and another 3.1 million with emphysema, both responsible for the destruction of lung tissue that leaves those affected struggling to breathe.

With chronic lower respiratory diseases listed as the third leading cause of death in the United States, an increased emphasis has been placed on finding solutions for conditions such as COPD and emphysema. An article from Temple University introduces a new nationwide clinical study that will test the possibility that ibuprofen can reverse the effects of this debilitating condition.

The $4.4 million study, funded by the National Institutes of Health’s National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, will seek to determine if a common over-the-counter, non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drug can provide a novel treatment for emphysema.

Gerard J. Criner, director of the Temple Lung Center and the trial’s local principal investigator claims that “if this treatment is successful, it could restore lost lung function and change the course of treatment for millions of Americans living with emphysema.”

Emphysema has long been considered irreversible. This trial looks specifically to determine whether or not ibuprofen can block the production of prostaglandin E (PGE) in the lower respiratory tract. Increased levels of PGE have been shown to slow the repair process in lungs. Therefore, by blocking production of PGE, the lungs have a greater probability of repairing themselves.

The measure of the trial’s success will be whether patients who receive ibuprofen have improvement in lung function and in the lung’s ability to repair itself. If successful, researchers will seek approval to conduct a larger clinical study.

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